01 – Phon. + Stress
IMPORTANT LINKS YOU WILL NEED RIGHT AWAY FOR YOUR STUDY OF SINDARIN:
TERMS YOU WILL NEED TO KNOW
Diphthong: In Sindarin, a combination of two consecutive vowels that represent a single sound. The Sindarin diphthongs are: AE, AI, EI, OE, UI and AU.
Stress: Stress (or accent) is the amount of force or “loudness” which is applied to certain parts (syllables) of a word.
Syllable: A syllable is a word or part of a word that can be pronounced with one impulse from the voice. A syllable always contains a vowel sound, and most syllables have consonants associated with the vowel.
Ex-am-ples of words di-vi-ded in-to syl-la-bles.
Acute Accent: The acute accent ( ´ ) is a symbol used to denote long vowels.
Circumflex: The circumflex ( ^ ) is a symbol used to denote extra long vowel sounds … used mostly in one-syllable words because their vowels when so indicated were especially long in duration.
Voicing: A voiced sound is a sound in which your vocal cords vibrate. For example, voicing is the difference between English F and V (V being voiced). Vowels are usually always voiced as well as many consonants (at least in Sindarin). An unvoiced sound is one in which the vocal cords are not vibrating. You can tell if a sound is voiced by placing your hand on your throat and drawing out the sound. If you feel a buzzing, you know the sound is voiced.
THE PHONOLOGY (SOUND) OF SINDARIN
C– always has the value of K (hard C), never of S.
Example: Celeborn > Keleborn, not Seleborn
CH– is used to represent the sound similar to German “Bach” or Scottish “loch” in all positions. Never sounds like ch in English “church”. Considered a single consonant. In RGEO, Tolkien adds “represents the sound spelt ‘ch’ in Welsh, German, Gaelic, and in Russian X.”
DH– represents the voiced TH of English “then”, never like the TH in “thin”. DH is considered a single consonant.
F– sounds like normal F except at the end of words, where it is used to represent the sound of V.
Examples: Gandalf > Gandalv, falf > falv
G– has only the sound of hard G in “goat”.
H– when standing alone with no other consonant, has the sound of H in “house”.
L– has the sound of English initial L as in “leg”.
LH– represents voiceless L (see above about “voicing”).
NG– represents the sound in ‘sing’ finally (at the end of a word) and initially (at the beginning of a word) as in ‘nguruthos’ (the G is not very pronounced). Medially (in the middle of a word) NG has the sound as in “finger” …. where the G is more pronounced.
PH– has the same sound as a normal English F. In a word like “alph”, it is used to get the English F sound at the end of a word. Medially (in the middle of a word) it represents an FF sound … meaning it is drawn out in duration a little longer.
R– represents a TRILLED R in all positions.
RH– represents a voiceless R.
S– is always voiceless as in English “sent”, never like in “as”.
TH– represents the voiceless “th” of English “thin”. Considered a single consonant.
V– has the sound of English V but is not used finally (at the end of words).
W– has the sound of English W.
HW– represents the sound of a voiceless W.
Consonants represented by “h” added as a “spirantal” sign (ch, th, dh, ph) are SINGLE CONSONANTS and represent single letters in the original scripts.
The Sindarin vowels are A, E, I, O, U, and Y. The sounds represented by all the vowels, even those with accents, are “short” … except for í. DURATION of the short vowel sounds will increase with the addition of an acute accent or a circumflex.
A– pronounced like A in ‘father’.
E– pronounced like E in ‘bed’.
I– pronounced like I in ‘sick’. If I is at the beginning of a word, in front of another vowel, it has the consonantal sound of Y like in ‘yore’.
Í and î– pronounced like “ee” as in ‘feet’.
O– pronounced like O in ‘hot’, though o is intended to be rounder than in modern English.
U– pronounced like U in ‘put’.
Y– pronounced more or less like U in French lune.
These are pronunciations taken directly from Tolkien’s “clarification” of the sounds in The Road Goes Ever On.
“I” would have to take on an “ee” sound before another vowel, if both vowels are to be pronounced, and fluidly at that. Otherwise you would be “spitting out” words like Gilthoniel with “i el” sounding like a hiccup !! An example in our own language of this pronunciation would be a word like “orient”, where the “i” isn’t considered “long” but certainly doesn’t sound “short” either. In Sindarin, the ‘i’ near the end of a word like Gilthoniel isn’t “long”, but happens to sound long. This is how Tolkien pronounces the “medial i” before other vowels in his recordings.
The groups ‘er’, ‘ir’, and ‘ur’, in any position, are not intended to be pronounced as “fern, fir, and fur” …. but rather as English ‘air’, ‘near’, and ‘poor’:
ER– pronounced as in English ‘air’
IR– pronounced as in English ‘near’
UR– pronounced as in English ‘poor’
The Sindarin Diphthongs are AE, AI, EI, OE, UI and AU. Other combinations are not diphthongal. Often one will see AU written AW at the end of words. All of these are falling diphthongs, meaning that they were stressed on the first element.
AI– pronounced like YE in English “rye”
EI– pronounced like EY in English “grey”
UI– pronounced like the UI in English “pursuing”, but with “one sound”.
AU or AW– pronounced like the English word “loud”, never as in “laud” or “haw”.
AE– there is no English word to describe how to pronounce Sindarin AE, but it may be pronounced like the YE in English “rye”
OE– there is no word to describe how to pronounce the Sindarin OE, but it may pronounced like the OY in English “boy”.
In RGEO, Tolkien adds in a footnote about AI and UI: “The first vowel (a and u) was in both somewhat prolonged. These diphthongs were thus of a length more or less equal to the time occupied by two syllables, and are therefore occasionally employed metrically where the normal metre requires two.”
Fanuilos is an example where “two metres” are required of UI > Fan u i los … instead of Fan ui los …. (in Sam’s invocation).
When you are determining the placement of stress in a word with a diphthong, remember that a diphthong is considered “ONE SOUND”. So for words such as aeglos, nelchaenen, or orbelain, don’t break up the diphthongs into two separate syllables.
AE – glos (rule 1)
nel – chAE – nen (rule 2)
Or- be – lain (rule 3)
Long vowels are usually marked with the ACUTE ACCENT. In Sindarin long vowels in stressed monosyllables (one syllable words) are usually marked with the CIRCUMFLEX, since in these cases the vowels tended to be especially prolonged. Remember the length of a vowel (except ‘í’) is never a changed in the sound itself …. but rather the DURATION of the vowel sound.
Final E is never silent. In Sindarin, vowels at the end of words are always pronounced.
NOTE: Vowel accents are very important. They not only indicate how a word should sound, but they are also sometimes the only difference to indicate the correct meaning of a word.
Example: nin > me …. nín > my
Double consonants are similar to long vowels in that their sound is simply longer in duration than a single consonant.
Finding the place of stress in Sindarin words can be a challenge, but if you follow these three rules, you will master it successfully:
1.) In words of 2 syllables the stress always falls on the first syllable.
2.) In longer words, it falls on the second to last syllable when the second to last syllable contains a long vowel, a diphthong, or a vowel followed by two (or more) consonants.
3.) When the second to last syllable contains a short vowel followed by only one (or no) consonant, the stress falls on the syllable before it, the third from the last.
dEnethor (remember that ‘th’ represents one consonant in Sindarin)
NOTE: Stress does not always fall upon a syllable with an acute accent. The accent only marks vowel length.
NOTE: When words combine to form compounds, the stress in them usually changes. Re-apply the rules to the new word formed, unless a hyphen (-) is used between the original words.